With a standing-room only crowd, two vocal student sections and a trip to the County Center on the line, Thursday’s Class AA quarterfinal match up between Fox Lane and Mahopac had all the makings of a great game.
Both teams delivered, as the No. 5 Indians beat the No. 4 Foxes 70-66 in overtime to advance to the semifinals for the fourth straight season.
“It was awesome, man,” said Mahopac senior Ryan Simone, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, of the environment in Bedford. “It’s every player’s dream.”
Mahopac will play No. 1 Mount Vernon in a semifinal Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
The Indians are no strangers to close quarterfinal games. Mahopac beat Arlington in double overtime the past two seasons to advance to the semifinals.
“As long as we get there, I could care less,” Mahopac coach Kevin Downes said.
Mahopac took a 60-57 advantage with 50 seconds left in regulation thanks to an Aidan Hynes’ put back.
James Morales (23 points, three assists, three steals) went 1 for 2 from the line to make it 60-58. The Indians struggled from the charity stripe, and Andrew Redhead (11 points, nine rebounds) sank two free throws with 3.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied 60-60.
“You’re only four minutes from where you want to go,” said Downes of what he told his team entering overtime. “You’ve got to dig in. Whatever just happened is over.”
Hynes was able to grab another offensive rebound and go 1 for 2 from the line to give the Indians a 65-64 lead with 1:11 left.
“We said going into the game, ‘Hey I need you to get on the glass and rebound,'” said Downes of what he told Hynes, who finished with eight rebounds. “He was phenomenal coming off the bench, giving us a lot of energy.”
Mahopac seniors Glen Janik (18 points, three assists) and R.J. Martinez (23 points, eight rebounds) both sank free throws down the stretch to extend the Indians’ lead.
It’s the first trip to the County Center for Martinez, who moved into the district from Carmel prior to the start of the school year.
“I’m so excited,” Martinez said. “I finally made it.”
Clarkstown South 59, Arlington 51: In a Class AA quarterfinal at No. 2 South, Conor McGuinness had 15 of his 23 points in the first half for the Vikings, who advanced to play No. 6 Spring Valley on Thursday, Feb. 27, at 4:45 p.m. in the semifinals at the County Center. This will be the third meeting between South and Spring Valley, which split during the regular season and were co-league champs. “It’s going to be tough, but we have the same expectation that we had at the beginning of the year: We expect to win,” McGuinness said. “That’s how we’ve been all year and it’s not going to change.”